Each family is different because of the individuals in that group, their living conditions and personalities. Unique, there is no standard model or perfect ideal although we all seem to have one in our mind. A mom and dad married with 2.5 children used to be the norm. Now almost 50% of families are single parent households. Despite the variations, are there some universal values that each family tries to instill in their children and a family legacy that is passed down consciously or not. (Photo of my grandmother, her husband and two of their five children. He died of cancer four months after their last child was born.)
Looking back on my mother’s family both she and my grandmother were widows, I saw their example of “independence” and “courage” in going forward with what life had dealt them. Not wallowing in self pity, but doing what needed to be done. My grandmother with her five kids, no education, washed dishes, cooked in boarding houses, took in laundry and ironing; anything to survive and feed her children. There was no welfare in those days. My mom, the first high school graduate in her family, worked as a secretary after the death of my dad, attended business school to pick up more skills, then settled into a secure job as a telephone operator to support us.
It was a legacy that said to me, when I unexpectedly became a single parent because of divorce, you can do it. They did it. It was a family tradition for me to build upon. Then there was my father’s parents. That grandmother was hardworking, an immaculate housekeeper and great cook, made her own clothes, and stored great quantities of food for winter needs. My grandfather was completely honest, hardworking and thrifty. Paying cash for all big purchases and saving money religiously. Both were wonderful examples to me as I grew up.
I CHALLENGE YOU to begin writing down your family’s legacy. What is your earliest memory of your parents or grandparents? How did they affect your life as you began the journey called “life?” My earliest memories of my mom and dad are taking airplane rides together when I was only 4 years old. Dad was the pilot and loved to fly over the Utah landscape in his small piper cub airplane. What fun that was. We’d go visit my maternal grandmother and buzz her house so she’d know we needed to be picked up in the nearby pasture. Those were idyllic days of my early childhood. Feeling secure and loved. (My grandmother who gave me a secure feeling of being loved and important.)